Friday, October 22, 2010

Pumpkin & Red Lentil Soup

 Recipe from Delicious Vegetarian Food, page 67


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 long red chilli, seeded and chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
500g butternut pumpkin, chopped
350g orange sweet potato, chopped
1 litre vegetable or chicken stock
½ cup red lentils
1 tablespoon tahini

  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat, add the chilli and onion and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until the onion is soft. Reduce the heat to low, add the pumpkin and sweet potato and cook, covered, for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Increase the heat to high, add the stock and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to low, and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes. Add the lentils and cook, covered, for 7 minutes, or until tender.
  3. Blend the soup in batches in a blender, food processor or by using a stick blender. Add the tahini and blend until smooth. Return to the saucepan and gently heat until warmed through. Garnish with chilli and serve with bread.
Notes & Tips

The soup can be made up to a day ahead. Keep covered with plastic wrap in the refrigerator and reheat in a saucepan or in the microwave.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Honey Soy Chicken Wings

Recipe adapted from Woolworths Fresh Magazine November 2009, issue 45 page 26 


1kg chicken mid wings
¼ cup soy sauce
¼ cup ketcap manis
1-2 tbs honey
¼ tsp Chinese five-spice powder (optional)
1-2 garlic clove, crushed

  1. Prick the flesh of the chicken all over with a fork to allow the marinade to penetrate.
  2. Combine soy sauce, ketcap manis, honey, five-spice powder and garlic in a shallow dish.
  3. Add wing pieces and turn to coat with marinade. These can be left overnight if you have time.
  4. Preheat oven to 200°C. Arrange chicken pieces into a roasting pan lined with baking paper in a single layer. Bake for 25-30 minutes until cooked through and golden.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Won Tons

Won tons are great to freeze when making a big batch. When I'm feeling lazy or tired and I want a quick and nutritious meal, I take a box of won tons straight out of the freezer, pop it into some boiling stock and 5 minutes later, it's ready to be eaten.

There are many techniques used to fold won tons. I've even seen some recipe books of chefs folding won tons the same way as tortellini! Whilst the tortellini method may look pretty, it's not the traditional way of folding won tons! The method that I have described below is the best in terms of maximising storage space for a freeze container. 


1 pkt, wonton wrappers
6-8 cups chicken stock
1 bunch Asian greens
1 small bowl of water (to seal the wonton wrappers)

Wonton filling:

200g pork mince
500g prawns, chopped
2 pieces dried cloud ear fungus
3 tablespoons corn flour
4 teaspoons light soy sauce
2 teaspoons sugar


Pour boiling water over the fungus and soak for 10 minutes. Drain thoroughly and chop finely.

Mix the pork mince, prawns, fungus, cornflour, light soy sauce and sugar together in a large bowl then cover and refrigerate for at least 3-4 hours.

Place 1 wonton wrapper on a clean surface. Place 1 teaspoon of filling into the centre. Brush edges of the won ton wrappers with a little water using the tip of your finger or a pastry brush. Fold the won ton wrapper diagonally in half to form a triangle. Press edges together. Fold base corners of triangle over each other to form an open envelope. Fold back the top of the envelope to form a small rectangle. Repeat using remaining wrappers and pork mixture.

Bring stock to the boil in a large saucepan over high heat. Drop wontons, in batches, into the boiling stock. Boil, uncovered, for 4-5 minutes or until wontons float and filling is cooked through.

Remove to a bowl using a slotted spoon. Cover to keep warm.

Just before serving add Asian greens to boiling stock. Cook for 30 seconds or until just wilted. Divide wontons between serving bowls. Ladle over stock and Asian greens. Serve.

    Wednesday, October 13, 2010

    Wasabi Mashed Potatoes

    I love wasabi and I love mashed potatoes, so what the heck, why not combine the two?

    Serves 4 as a side dish


    700g potatoes, quartered
    2 tablespoons butter
    6 tablespoons milk
    1 teaspoon – 1 tablespoon wasabi paste (adjust to your taste)
    1 stalk green onion, thinly sliced
    1 tablespoon soy sauce

    1. Place the potatoes in a pot and cover with cold water. 
    2. Bring the pot to a boil and cook for 15-20 minutes, or until the potatoes are cooked through. To check, pierce a potato with a paring knife. If the knife slides easily in and out, the potatoes are done. 
    3. Drain and return the potatoes to the pot. 
    4. Smash the potatoes with a fork or potato masher. 
    5. Add the butter, milk and wasabi paste.
    6. Mix to incorporate but don’t mix over-mix otherwise they’ll be pasty. 
    7. Portion out the potatoes on plates, throw on some green onions and a dribble of soy sauce. Voila!

    Tuesday, October 5, 2010

    Chocolate Sponge Cake


    4 room temperature eggs, separated

    ½ cup caster sugar
    1 teaspoon bicarbonate soda
    ½ cup cornflour
    1 tablespoon plain cake flour
    3 tablespoons cocoa powder

    1. Preheat oven to 180°C.
    2. Grease and line a 20cm springform tin.
    3. Place egg whites in a large bowl and using an electric mixer beat the eggs on high speed until soft peaks form.
    4. Sift together caster sugar and bicarbonate of soda into a separate bowl.
    5. With the mixer still going, gradually add the caster sugar mixture one tablespoon at a time into the egg whites, beating until dissolved after each addition. When all the sugar is dissolved, turn off mixer.
    6. Add egg yolks and beat again until combined.
    7. In a separate bowl, sift dry ingredients three times to aerate and combine. Sift onto the egg mixture. Use a spatula to gently fold flours into eggs. This is the critical bit, use a ‘light’ hand and don’t over mix.
    8. Pour the mixture into the prepared springform tin and bake for 20 minutes. The sponge is cooked when it has slightly come away from the sides and the top springs back when lightly touched.
    9. Allow cake to cool in pan for 5 minutes before turning onto wire rack lined with baking paper to cool completely.
    10. Use a large serrated knife to cut the cake horizontally into 2 even layers (insert toothpicks at intervals to use as a guide as you cut)
    Notes & Tips for making sponge cake

    The eggs should be at room temperature. 

    Use really fresh eggs

    Eggs and caster sugar must be whisked for a full 10 minutes with an electric whisk, until pale and thick. It’s thick enough when it’s about three times the volume. When you lift out the whisk, the thick mixture that drips off should leave a trail on top of the rest.

    It’s crucial to fold in the flour with a sure but light touch – you don’t want to undo all that good whisking by knocking out the air!

    To make the batter rise as much as possible, the bottom of the pan should have more heat than the top. So bake the cake on the bottom instead of middle shelf.

    White Chocolate Strawberry Mousse Cake

    I made this White Chocolate Strawberry Mousse Cake for my mum's birthday recently :) 

    You’ll need approx 4 punnets strawberries for this recipe

    1 x Chiffon cake base, cut into 2 even layers
    Click here for the Chiffon Cake Base recipe

    A) 400g strawberry
    1 tbsp lemon juice
    50g caster sugar
    1 tsp strawberry essence
    Extra strawberry sliced and cubed (as much as you like- I used approx 100g)
    Whole strawberry for garnish (optional)

    B) 300ml thickened cream
    3 tbsp icing sugar

    C) 100g white chocolate
    50ml thickened cream

    D) 15g gelatine (approx. 1 tbsp)
    50ml hot water

    E) 100ml thickened cream
    1 tbsp icing sugar, extra

    1. Clean and hull the strawberries. Add in 50g sugar and let it sit for awhile. Puree them in a blender and put it through the strainer. You should get about 400ml strawberry puree. Stir in 1 tbsp of lemon juice. Reserve 2 tbsp of this puree for the swirl effect.
    2. Whip 300ml thickened cream with 3 tbsp icing sugar till mousse state.
    3. Melt 100g white chocolate then add into 50ml thickened cream.
    4. Dissolve gelatine in hot water, let stand for 5 minutes then stir this into the strawberry puree. 
    5. Add melted white chocolate mixture into the strawberry puree.
    6. Fold the whipped cream into the strawberry chocolate mixture.
    7. Line the cake pan with a slice of the cake base; top it with half the mousse. Add in the strawberry pieces. Press the fruits down gently if needed. Top it with some mousse just enough to cover the strawberry pieces.
    8. Top it with another layer of cake and pour the rest of the mousse on it.
    9. Spoon teaspoonfuls of the reserved puree onto the surface of the mousse on desired positions and swirl it with a toothpick to create the swirls.
    10. Refrigerate for at least 3 - 4 hours.   
    11. Use an electric beater to beat cream and icing sugar in a medium bowl until firm peaks form. 
    12. Place the cream in a piping bag fitted with a 1cm fluted nozzle and pipe rosettes around the edge of the cake. Arrange some strawberries around the cake between the cream rosettes. Cut the cake into wedges to serve. 
    Notes & Tips
    To create the swirl effect on top of the cake, drop one teaspoon of strawberry puree on the cake surface and swirl the puree with a toothpick. I put 1 teaspoon on the middle of the cake and the rest at clock position of 12, 2, 4, 6, 8 and 10.

    *** I lined the inner circumference of my spring form cake pan with plastic cake tape and trimmed my cake to be smaller than the spring form pan. This way the mousse will cover the whole cake and you don’t need to cream the cake but just pipe some rosettes or whatever with some cream and do the rest of the décor on the cake. If you don't have any cake tape, use clear cellophane instead. Moisten one side of the cellophane with some water to help it adhere to the sides of the pan.

    Saturday, October 2, 2010

    Creme Brulee

    Hubby bought me a blow torch as a wedding anniversary gift. I was so excited to receive another kitchen toy to use and decided to test it out by making some crème brulee. It works pretty well and caramelised the sugar quite nicely :)

    Recipe adapted from Masterchef 2010, Masterclass 4 season 2

    Serves 4


    600ml thickened cream
    1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped
    6 egg yolks
    ¼- ½ cup caster sugar
    120g demerara sugar


    Step 1: Preheat oven to 120°C.

    Step 2: Place the cream, vanilla bean and seeds in a saucepan over medium heat and bring to scalding point, then remove from heat. Remove vanilla bean and discard.

    Step 3: Whisk together egg yolks and caster sugar in a bowl for 2-3 minutes or until thick, creamy and pale.

    Step 4: Pour hot cream over egg yolk mixture, continuing to whisk until well combined. Strain mixture into a jug, evenly divide between 4 x 200ml ramekins.

    Step 5: Carefully place ramekins in a deep roasting pan. Pour boiling water into pan to come halfway up the sides of ramekins. Cover pan loosely with foil.

    Step 6: Bake in the oven for 40 minutes or until the custard has just set (custards should still have a slight wobble when done). Remove ramekins from the water bath, and set aside to cool. Refrigerate, covered for at least 4 hours.

    Step 7: Sprinkle demerara sugar evenly over the surface of the baked custards. Run a kitchen blowtorch over the custards, or place under a preheated grill until the sugar bubbles and caramelises. Set aside for 5 minutes or until toffee sets. Serve.

    Notes & Tips

    Placing custards in a dish full of ice keeps the custard chilled and stops it overcooking while the sugar caramelises under the grill (or blowtorch). Placing the custards as close as possible to the grill also speeds the process. If using the grill, position the grill rack as close to grill as possible and preheat it to medium high.
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